Max Weber

Topics: Max Weber, Authority, Rational-legal authority Pages: 7 (1811 words) Published: November 15, 2012

A) Biography
Birth name: Karl Emil Maximilian Weber
Birth date: April 21 1864 (Erfurt, Germany)
Parents: Max Weber Sr. and Helene Fallenstein
Death: June 14, 1920 (Munich, Germany)
Spouse: Marianne Schnitger (feminist and author)
* Studied in the universities of Heidelberg and Berlin and was trained in law. * He taught in various universities in Germany until 1897 when he suffered a nervous breakdown due to his father’s death. His illness forced him to withdraw from his teaching duties in 1903. * Even though he wasn’t teaching, Weber still continued to work by studying various philosophical and religious topics, which led him to publish a number of essays and, most especially, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, which is considered his most famous work. * During the first World War, Weber became a fervent supporter of the German’s aims for war and even volunteered to be part of the army but he later changed his views and became one of the most prominent critics of Kaiser’s war policies. * He was invited to join the draft board of the Weimar Constitution as well as the German delegation to Versailles and even ran for a parliamentary seat. * Frustrated with the state of politics, he returned to teaching in 1919 and briefly taught in the Universities of Vienna and Munich and was compiling his writings on religion but his scholarly activities was ended abruptly in 1920 when he died of Pneumonia at the age of fifty six.

B) Current History

* At the beginning of World War 1, Max Weber supported enthusiastically the German aims and volunteered for the Army. In 1915, he changed his mind and became a pacifist. After the war Weber helped draft the constitution of the Weimar Republic and founded the German Democratic Party. But he slowly took distance with the new republic, loathe of the slowness and inefficiencies of political parties. * One of Weber's most serious concerns was how society would maintain control over expanding state bureaucracies. He felt the most serious problem was not inefficiency or mismanagement but the increased power of public officials. A person in an important, specialized position will become to realize how dependent their bosses are on their expertise and begin to exercise their power in that position. Furthermore, the staff also began to associate with the special social interests of their particular group or organization. Over history this has caused the shift in power from the leaders of society to the bureaucrats * Weber's philosophical worldview, if not coherent philosophy, was informed by the deep crisis of the Enlightenment project in fin-de-siècle Europe, which was characterized by the intellectual revolt against positivist reason, a celebration of subjective will and intuition, and a neo-Romantic longing for spiritual wholesomeness [Hughes 1977]. In other words, Weber belonged to a generation of self-claimed epigones who had to struggle with the legacies of Darwin, Marx, and Nietzsche. As such, the philosophical backdrop to his thoughts will be outlined here along two axes: epistemology and ethics.

A) Theory of Bureaucracy
- According to Weber, bureaucracy is not a type of political system but a “continues professionalized and rule-governed form of administration”. * “It is a legal rational form of domination described as eliminating all personal, irrational and emotional elements from administration and bureaucratic administration subordinating the individual to the rational, specialized division of labor and an increasing rationalization of all spheres of social life.” * According to institutional definitions, bureaucracy is a branch of government that provides us, the citizens, with the basic services that we need on a daily basis. * Bureaucracy is the fourth branch of government which brings the people and government together. * It provides continuity and stability...
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